It’s not exactly where you’d expect to find a bake sale - in an old warehouse, down a damp cobbled street in London’s East End. But then, it’s no ordinary bake sale.
Just in time for Halloween, a group of London cake makers have made it their task to create some of the most disgusting-looking, unappetizing cakes imaginable.
Anybody fancy a tentacle flapjack, or a bleeding wound cupcake? How about a chocolate severed hand, a scarred flesh rocky road, or an oozing eyeball? Didn’t think so.
Each autumn, some of the world's most prominent food scholars, chefs, journalists and enthusiasts gather together on the campus of the University of Mississippi for a symposium on the state of Southern food. Overarching themes covered by the Southern Foodways Alliance in the previous 15 years have included the role of farmers, a study of global influences, the undercurrents of music and booze, just to name a few. The subject at the core of 2013's installment: Women at Work.
For two days, featured presenters and honorees like Diane Roberts, Vertamae Grosvenor, Emily Wallace, Candacy Taylor, Charlotte Druckman, among many others, spoke eloquently and enthusiastically of the essential roles that women have played in the creation of Southern food culture past and present.
Then it was time for dessert. Eatocracy's managing editor Kat Kinsman and New York Times Atlanta bureau chief Kim Severson faced off in a tongue-in-cheek Lincoln-Douglas debate. The topic at hand: which holds more essential social and emotional currency in the South, pie or cake?
Kinsman defended the pro-pie position, and Severson took the side of cake. They tied, by an assessment of audience applause, but here in the spirit of National Dessert Day, we're serving up slices of both their arguments. Dig in.
When the love child of the doughnut and the croissant was created by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York, fans queued for hours to sample the tasty hybrid snack.
With only 300 cronuts made each day sold at $5 a pop, they are so coveted that they can go for up to $40 on the pastry black market. Even supermodel Heidi Klum had to wait weeks to try one.
Though the cronut has gained worldwide attention on social media since its debut in May, few in the UK have had the chance to taste the unique pastry - until now.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
It’s quite something to take a brisk walk on a cool September morning through Soho in New York City and come across a line of at least 150 people waiting patiently for the opportunity to buy a cronut. For me at least, the sight of all these cronut-loons raises a number of questions. One is, “Really? That’s how you’re going to spend your morning?” Another is, “Wow, is civilization doomed?” Then there’s the crucially important, “Gosh, I wonder what wine would go with a cronut?”
“No dessert until you finish your dinner.”
Weary at the thought of choking back the limp pile of broccoli pushed to the side on the plate, many a sugar-mad kid has sighed in defeat upon hearing their mom utter those dreaded words, preempting any hopes of gaining early access to the cookie jar.
Depression is a daily struggle for millions of people, and stigma around the illness only adds to the burden. Emma Thomas' Depressed Cake Shop campaign is helping make conversations around the taboo topic a piece of cake.
"The concept is: make gray cakes, sell gray cakes and create a platform for discussion and media coverage," said Thomas. "And I think that's what we've done."
The London-based PR specialist and creative director became increasingly aware that people in the creative community around her frequently suffer from depression, but don't always have the freedom to discuss this with people in their professional or personal lives.
"If you go to the doctor and you're depressed the doctor will sign you off with stress so depression isn't on your record," Thomas said. "If you return to work after having the flu, people don't judge you forever. But if you have depression and you return to work after being down, you're judged forever."
Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes tackling English toffee, channeling summer with sunflower cheesecakes, sharing people-pleasin' pizza dip and green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.
There is a grace in the harmony of simple flavors and taking the time and care to introduce them to one another. I like to think it’s embodied in a perfect pound cake.
Take a moment to get to know the grand dame of Southern desserts.
In a cozy bakery in Boston’s South End, where sticky buns drip with caramel pecans and donuts are sold out by noon, a cheeky sign above the register proclaims: “Make life sweeter - eat dessert first.”
There’s no arguing with pastry chef Joanne Chang, whose Flour bakery sees crowds lining up as early as 7 a.m. for her signature treats. Indeed, the best places for dessert inspire you to throw out all the rules—eat with moderation, save the best for last—and give in to sugary bliss, no matter what the time of day.
Biting into a piece of fried potato dough drizzled with glaze can be a religious experience in Portland, Maine. A visit to a funky new dive called The Holy Donut has become a weekly, or sometimes daily, ritual for customers craving a fix of flavors ranging from sweet potato ginger to roasted pistachio.
“I’m trying to convince myself it’s not a sin to eat donuts,” says regular Nathan Hagelin as he takes the first bite of the shop's seasonal apple cider flavor.
“Everybody wants it. They think they can’t have it, but we tell them they can,” says owner Leigh Kellis. Traditionally the poster child of unhealthy treats, donuts here are made with all natural colors and flavors, local Maine ingredients and no preservatives.